So, you want to get started and you’re wondering if you should practice by yourself or go to a studio to take a class? Well, I’m going to break down some of the benefits and limitations to both these options. Personally, I love practicing at home in my own space. When I initially started practicing however, I used to go to classes. It took me a couple of months before I started practicing at home following a video. And only in the last year and a half did I start practicing on my own without any guidance. If you want to know more about how I started yoga check out my youtube video where I talk about it.
While reading this I want you to keep in mind that the following pro/con list is my opinion based on my experiences. Yoga and life is all about finding what works for you. No one knows you better than yourself. Listen to what you need and want.
PRO #1 PRIVACY
When practicing at home you have complete privacy. You can fall, stumble, fart, whatever it is you do, and not have to worry about anyone else. You are in your own space. A lot of the time we feel more comfortable in our own space. I recently started working on a handstand practice and I prefer practicing that on my own because I’ve noticed I worry less about what I look like and I am more focused on what my practice feels like.
CON #1 FORGET TO LEAVE OUR COMFORT ZONE
We can get into this habit of being on our own and we forget to push ourselves to some times wander outside of our comfort zone. We need to be able to push those boundaries because that is how we grow. If we choose to practice at home simply because we are worried about being judged in public maybe we need to rethink our mindset. Yoga is not about judgment. That is something we need to remember. It is very important to be comfortable but to also remember when you need to push yourself.
PRO #2 SAVING TIME
When you practice at home you are incharge of when, where, and for how long you practice. You also don’t need to worry about driving, taking a bus, or walking somewhere. All you need to do is roll out your mat. You can practice early in the morning or late into the evening. Whatever works for your schedule. You can always choose to practice 15 minutes on days when you are short on time. I always say any length of practice is better than no practice.
CON #2 PROCRASTINATION
When no one is holding you accountable to show up somewhere it’s easier to procrastinate. It is easier to make up excuses. This can be a good thing and a bad thing. If you are someone who struggles with this, then it might be a good time to practice being accountable for yourself. A yoga practice is easy to push aside. You need to always remember why it is you choose to practice. Remember what you feel like after you practice. Keep that in the forefront of your mind.
PRO #3 IT IS CHEAPER
There is so much free content available on Youtube and so many other sites to help guide you in your home practice. There are short practices too that you can pick and choose to fit your schedule. Your life is busy, everyday is different, when you practice at home you choose what fits you in the moment. You also don’t have to feel like you are wasting money if you don’t go to a studio everyday. There are also lots of decently priced online classes to choose from if you want more content.
CON #3 YOU MISS OUT ON THE ENERGY AND SOCIALIZING OF A GROUP CLASS.
This can be a pro or a con. If you are someone like me, socializing could be something you are not too comfortable with always. Avoiding it might sound awesome. If that is you, while there is nothing wrong with not being comfortable in groups, it is important that we practice what we aren’t comfortable with. Like I said before, life is all about growing. A yoga class is a great place to practice self-confidence. Even though you are in a group your practice is still your own. Recognizing that gives you a wonderful sense of confidence and freedom.
PRO #4 VARIETY OF CLASSES
There is so much variety to choose from when you’re practicing at home using online content. If you want to learn the split there are specific classes just for that. You can choose what you want to focus on. You can do whatever you body needs and wants in that moment.
CON #4 YOU DON’T HAVE A TEACHER TO HELP WITH ALIGNMENT
When practicing by yourself it is easy to be practicing a pose incorrectly and not be aware of it. In class you have the privilege of someone being able to help you with alignment. It is not easy to look at yourself while practicing so it helps to have a teacher who will do that. Sometimes the smallest change of alignment can make all the difference in an asana.
So guys, that my list for now. I think it’s very important to find what works for you and know it might not be the same as what works for someone else. We are all different. We need to find our own sense of balance. Some people only go to group class. Some people only practice at home by themselves. Some people do a combination of both. Neither is right or wrong. If you are just starting out give both ways a try. See what works for you and be open to change.